LAHORE  -    The Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) on Wednesday rescued 46 child beggars from their handlers in different areas of the city such as Liberty Market, H Block in Defence, Gulberg, Firdous Market, Ravi Bridge, Barkat Market and Karim Block Market.

CPWB Chairperson Sarah Ahmad led the child beggars rescue operation. The drive was carried out simultaneously in eight districts of Punjab – Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Faisalabad. More than 250 beggars and other children were rescued during the grand rescue operation.

Sarah Ahmad, talking to the media persons in Karim Block, said: “Children are the future of our nation and we cannot let them fall into beggary. My mission is to eradicate child beggary in Punjab.”

It is pertinent to mention that there are no official statistics for the exact number of street children who are involved in child beggary or being exploited for the beggary. According to 2013 World Bank report, estimated there are 10000 child beggars in Lahore alone.

Child rights activists termed population boom, urbanization and poverty are the most common reasons behind the rise of child beggary.

A research paper ‘A Study to Identify the Hot Spots of Street Children in Lahore’ by Aliya Khalid stated that  most of the street children earn money by begging,  car washing, drug trafficking, juggling, running errands, shoe shining or vending.

According to recent media reports, CPWB is not providing quality food to the children being rescued in Shelter Homes of CPWB while the bureau denied such allegations.